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Lime Kiln Lighthouse

The Lime Kiln Light is a functioning navigational aid located on Lime Kiln Point overlooking Dead Man's Bay on the western side of San Juan Island, Washington. It guides ships through the Haro Straits and is part of Lime Kiln Point State Park, which offers tours during the summer months

The Lime Kiln Light was established in 1914 when acetylene lights were placed on Lime Kiln Point, a name derived from the lime kilns built there in the 1860s. It was the last major light established in Washington. The light was updated five years later with a 38-foot octagonal concrete tower rising from the fog signal building, a design that matched the Alki Point Light in Seattle. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was first exhibited from the new tower on June 30, 1919. Two keeper's houses and other structures also date from around this time.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse was the last lighthouse in Washington to be electrified also, well after World War II. The Bonneville Power Administration laid a power cable from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands in 1951, and power lines were then run to the lighthouse. The Fresnel lens was eventually replaced by a non-rotating drum lens with an electric light bulb, and two electric foghorns were installed. The Coast Guard automated the Lime Kiln Lighthouse in August 1962, using photoelectric cells to turn the light on at dusk and off during daylight hours. In 1998, the drum lens was replaced with a modern optic, flashing a white light once every 10 seconds. The beacon is visible for 17 miles.

In 1984, the land was purchased for $1 from the U.S. government and became Lime Kiln, State Park. In 1996, one of the lime kilns was acquired by Washington State Parks. This Kiln has been reconstructed as an exhibit at the north end of the park and is listed on the National Historic Registry. The two original keeper’s dwellings can be seen in the woods near the lighthouse and are used to house Lime Kiln State Park personnel. The Coast Guard still has legal ownership of the lighthouse as an active aid to navigation; however, the building is maintained and managed by the Washington State Parks. Tours are available during the summer months.

At Lime Kiln Point State Park, the loud, transient neighbors gear up for a party that runs from spring into fall. Those would be the spouting orcas, fin-slapping Gray whales, and splashing porpoises. Set on a rocky bluff at the west end of San Juan Island. The pods, which also include humpback and minke whales, pass through the area every May through September, with peak times depending on salmon runs.


A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Lime Kiln Point is considered one of the best land-based whale-watching spots on earth. The species of whales you may see include orca, humpback, minke, and sometimes gray whales.

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